A strong dollar and a Brexit-buffeted pound put London in reach for culturally minded couples who may have felt short on cash before. Overlooking Hyde Park, the smartly renovated Royal Lancaster London is not only a paragon of midcentury modern style, but also a capital spot for taking affordable advantage of the city’s delights.
TABLE FOR TWO
Spice up your evening in Nipa Thai, the hotel’s teakpaneled restaurant with park views; its prettily presented cuisine has won an award from the Thai government. Room rates include a full English breakfast. Book the “A Night to Remember” package and you’ll also find a bottle of champagne and afternoon tea sweets awaiting your arrival.
Intellectual stimulation is easy here. Hop on the Tube’s Central Line at Lancaster Gate, just outside the hotel, for a quick trip to West End theaters (and the half-price TKTS booth in Leicester Square). A 25-minute walk through Kensington Gardens leads to the Science, Natural History and Victoria and Albert museums; as at all U.K. national galleries, admission is free.
Viva Therapies provides in-room massages, facials and other treatments to Royal Lancaster guests. Head to trendy K-West Hotel and Spa in Shepherd’s Bush to indulge in its elaborate hot-and-cold wet spa circuit, free with a two-hour holistic treatment or $65 without.
A hike in bucolic Hampstead Heath, just a half-hour bus ride from the hotel. Its hidden gems include Kenwood House, a beautiful 18th-century estate with a Rembrandt self-portrait among its collection of old masters.
The 411 rooms in the 18-story Royal Lancaster start at a cozy 215 square feet, but all offer sweeping views of the London skyline and understated nods to midcentury modern decor. Bathrooms are exceptionally indulgent for London, with bathrobes, slippers, heated floors and waterfall showers. Rooms start at $289. royallancaster.com
ARRIVE IN STYLE
Since you’re saving money elsewhere, book full-fare seats in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class and luxuriate in non-Uber private car service to and from SFO and Heathrow. Or gamble on a two-for-one discount at the counter; all Upper Class passengers have access to Virgin’s swanky airport lounge/restaurant before enjoying the lie-flat seats in free black jammies.